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Getting Serious About SEO

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by stevesdata, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. stevesdata

    stevesdata Regular Member

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    Hello All

    I have been a n00b lurker on here for a while and really need to get serious. I keep thanking my lucky stars I found this place, but suffer from acute procrastination :(

    SEO is pretty much the area my skills suit best and have obtained a few resources. I would like to ideally get advice from anyone who is in SEO professionally as how to learn the craft on a business level. Also how to try and turn the knowledge into a viable business model. My knowledge is limited but I have spent years learning mind bending stuff, so I am confident I can learn everything.

    I have had Aar0n Wall, Traffic Secr3ts and a few other resources recommended. (Obviously the stuff here is pure gold also). What do other people recommend?

    I am hoping to launch an SEO service next year and just make myself very cheap until I get a good rep - if it works I would also try to offer a ridiculously cheap service to BHW members. Would spend several months getting good and continuing to research first, before taking peoples cash.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I know other members have annoyed ppl for wanting to become an SEO overnight. I dont want that. I want to work very hard learning everything inside and out.

    Thanks in advance for anyone who can help me in the right direction.

    ;)
     
  2. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    The key to any business is sales. The truth is that if you can't network and get clients it really doesn't matter how great your product and service is (or will be)... If you don't have sales experience then you should consider partnering with an experience sales person. The first thing an experience sales person will tell you to do is to not discount your rates. You will already be providing greater value than other shops because as a sole client they will get all of your attention and know that you are invested in their success for future references and business. In the enterprise services world cheap prices means "no support". Being too cheap will push serious customers to your competitors. Offer full service services & a finite and short list of cheap and easy a la carte services. Build your service as a quality brand with support, communication, and process transparency as the reasons for your success. Customers don't want to hear there is a magical black box only you have that makes it work. Let them know the truth. It takes a lot of hard time consuming and painful labor to make it work. Monkeys could do it but even they don't have patience to make sure that not only does the job get done, but it gets done properly. Customers HATE it when they have to chase you down to find out where their projects are at. Build a system/process to keep them informed several times a days. Seek them out to constantly verify that your work is meeting their needs and don't get offended if you hear bad news... get flexible... customers LOVE it when you work for them and with them. Be approachable. They need to know who you are and where you are and when you are available and how to reach you. Don't require email/IM only to hide your identity... be a real business with accountability and that will put you instantly ahead of half the businesses out there without even justifying your capabilities.

    Here is all you need to know to make a service business...

    * First sell the work once.
    * Then do the work once.
    * Find out how it can be done better,faster,cheaper for both you and your customer.
    * Estimate how much work you can take on and still get it all done.
    * Adjust your pricing to the amount of work you can complete and the amount of money you need to make to make it worthwhile.
    * Add customers
    * Add employees to handle more customers.
    * Lather rinse and repeat.

    The take away is that sales and support make the business. You don't need to know everything. In fact you don't need to know anything to try it out. Create an article writing service. That all by itself can test the waters to see if you can SELL and SUPPORT and GET THE WORK DONE. If you can't do those three things it just doesn't matter how awesome your SEO Kung Fu is.
     
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  3. stevesdata

    stevesdata Regular Member

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    Many thanks for this. It looks like excellent advice.

    Article writing I was interested in but the cost of articles is going through the floor atm. I would have loved to have done this a year ago or so.

    Its my client skills which have attracted me to SEO work. I am excellent at that. I just need to get as much knowledge as poss on the subject and ideally do a bit of networking to find other ppl that do SEO professionally to try and learn a bit more about the trade.

    I know loads of web ppl but havent met any SEO professionals at all.

    Do you work in SEO yourself?
     
  4. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    I do... I make 6 figures doing SEO for an online retailer. It helps that I double as a java developer. I got in the door a a programmer and volunteered to do the company's SEO. Once you start getting credit for $5M+ in revenue per year you get a lot of power. I have recently been promoted to the Director of Business Development and I have been involved with contract negotiations and the acquisition of another online retailer.

    SEO/SEM go hand in hand. I have one of those Google Prizes: "1 million clicks this year" AdWords Mini Refrigerators for my desk.

    You'll make a lot more money quickly by getting an entry level job in SEO/SEM... They will pay you to learn. Go to barnes & noble and read a couple beginners books on SEO/SEM and thats enough to get an entry level job... just tell the employers how awesome SEO/SEM is... not your chops so much, but you love of the industry and tools and the importance of the work. Preferably get a job where growth wont be limited by too many factors beyond your control. Online Retail is great. SEO Services is not so hot a place to do SEO learning. Perhaps look for an online retailer with at least 500 SKUs. The one I work for has 21,000 SKUs. They had about 4,000 when I started. The rest is growth I helped make. You could also find a local store with a lot of products and no "real" website to speak of and get a job there... talk to the onwers and volunteer your services... on the clock of course... Build their online sales and you'll be a top employee and you get paid to learn.
     
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  5. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    One more thing... doing SEO/SEM as a job has another benefit. When you do break away to make your own business your employer will likely retain your services because they already know and trust your work. Just charge less than your salary and its a WIN/WIN scenario... its also a good amount of money without having to go with stupid low prices. You can't compete with prices from outsourced labor in india. So don't. They can't compete with your local relationships and legitimacy and customer service. Be sure to always play a bigger game than cheap prices. Have a few Indian outsourcers to recommend if all a prospect wants is cheap cheap cheap. Ask them to please come back when they want hassle free results from a proven and reputable business that is invested in their clients' long term success while meeting short term needs.
     
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  6. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    As an SEO expert and business consultant/developer myself, I highly recommend that you focus on knowing your craft through experience. If you want to make a name for yourself, you have to start with your own mark.

    It has been suggested here that you can get into an entry level seo position which is a good place to be if you want to work for someone else the rest of your life, as my clients don't support my business. my business doesn't exist on what I teach others, it thrives on what I use and refuse to give them for my own business practices.

    Build your own successful business first and let that build your profits as well as instant social proof for when you decide to go into the market as an expert. Make sure you are up to the title before trying to hold it or it will crush ya under the weight.

    Once you've got 10 different sites in the top of their niches, earning in the 75% or better conversion, making you some really strong cashflow...and finally, have a personally developed system that you can repeat and get those same results each and everytime...that's when you are ready to move into doing it for other people.

    As a beginner, you will be busted, broken and bleeding in a heart beat if you claim the fame and can't play the game.

    Hope that helps.




     
  7. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    I agree with aftershock2020, but if you have to pay the pills and need health insurance to not die then my way is safer. Bootstrapping a start-up can be one of the roughest experiences in life. It can be one of the most rewarding too. It adds another level of complexity to the endeavor and from your post my advice is "get paid to learn"... then "shoot for the moon"... If you're really going to go for it you will want a nest egg to carry you through the hard times.

    I started, owned, and eventually sold an enterprise software company between 2000-2005 servicing airlines. When 9/11 hit we didn't see one dime of revenue for ten months. I lived on peanut butter. No insurance for my car. Laid off 25 employees. Had creditors threatening to sue me. Stuck it out and brought the business back to record profits, but was totally fried from the experience. Aged over night. Quality of life matters too. I'm not saying you'll see similar hardships, but a lot can happen in a start-up. 9-5 jobs offer a lot of different freedoms and perks too. There is nothing wrong with using one to get to another either.

    It is different if all you ever want to be is a one man show. Different rules apply then... but for me I want the sky to be the limit and a 1 man show wont get me there.
     
  8. Niche

    Niche Junior Member

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    Just wondering if you have actually put any of this knowledge to use
    I think maybe you should build a few sites and see how well they do in the search engines
     
  9. stevesdata

    stevesdata Regular Member

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    Thanks a lot for all the advice really appreciate it.

    Basically my first skills are music production / any kind of audio work. I need to get into freelancing as things are pretty f%^ked up in the music industry. Sony axing half their workforce etc. - its been f^&ked since long before financial crisis etc.

    I have completed a music degree but about a third of the modules had web stuff inc. web design, highly tech modules such as codecs, digital broadcasting, p2p technology. It makes sense for me to try and enhance my skills so I can freelance in both areas otherwise will be a very tough year.

    As a priority I hope to start setting up test sites to try out different techniques and use as specific examples of my services.

    :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  10. woodstuck

    woodstuck Junior Member

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    Aftershock has it right - You need results to get real clients... the days of bullshitting your way into a position of SEO has long been gone.

    I have been a professional seo for over 10 years (I no longer take on clients), I work only for myself and others close to me.

    Here is my suggestion (as it sounds like you need a portfolio first - proof - if you will). So do it with the intent of making money from it once you arrive organically on the first page of Google for a topic or category.

    So just pick something, anything, at first this is a test of your skills, after that, it is a test of making money or converting the visitors you do get...

    For example; escorts chicago, or dog training and obedience miami, or get the first page for SEO -your town? Pick anything and build a site that ranks - when you have proven you can do it, you can ask for money - Not just on your popular escort website, but now you have the proof to get clients... and if you did it right, you will be on the first page results for hundreds of keyword phrases people are searching for in that category - Now you are making money, taking on clients and hopefully building your next "interest" website to begin producing income from that industry as well.

    Sorry I got so long.... it is hard to be short when someone needs help and you really want to explain.

    Hope that helps my friend,
    - woodstuck
     
  11. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Well, that's not really the case here though...nor am I implying that anyone just go without making money. Actually, I was stating the exact opposite here, like woodstock mentioned, it's about trial by fire these days. You have to make the money with the talent and prove you have it before you attempt to get other people to pay for it.

    That is the way of business, always has been. People get paid for their skills and how good they are at using their knowledge and tools in their arsenal.

    No offense intended here but from your own example, there is proof right there that what i'm talking about it on target. If you sold your business and the rest crashed due to 9-11, why were you living on peanutbutter? Didn't you invest your profits into multiple streams of income, which is the standard of any seo expert?

    We all know there is no survival in sticking to one niche area. By sticking yourself in with a specific group of clients, you locked yourself in to that fate. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news there but 9-11 had nothing to do with your business bottoming out. We all lost, in many ways at that time.

    As for the topic of the thread, take this advice yourself, my friend and get yourself a more stable and secure cashflow system. This again, proves my point. Don't stake a claim to it if you aren't able to do the job.

    Steve, if you want to make it, do the right thing and build yourself a business that makes you successful. By doing this, you prove experience, profits and more importantly, results...all in one shot, while never being without money and never having to depend on a client to give it to you.

    In doing that, you'll never be on peanut butter.

    As for the sky being the limit, absolutely...as for one man not taking you there. As long as you limit yourself in that way of thinking, bro, you will always be the one man preventing it.

    My business network was started with and is still owned by one man...me. Do I have a network of people that work for me, absolutely. They are a team of experts in their various fields that I have to pay very well to access. They all work for me just the same, as I am the man incharge of that force.

    My question to you is, if you don't believe that one man, yourself is the one to lift you to that height you desire, then who is it you believe that will support him with their belief, muchless effort to actually do it for you?

    Food for thought.


     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  12. woodstuck

    woodstuck Junior Member

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    I forgot to make a point (maybe important)

    So you built this great escort website that now ranks on the first page of Google among other search engines as well... you are getting great traffic from prospects interested in your recommendations...

    Now that you ARE organically on the first page for a category (i.e. escorts, dog training, or seo) you can find your customers on those very same search pages (or not) - you see, they want to work with you or be listed with you or PAY you a referral because you are on the engines for 'their' preferred search phrases (and you own your site) so you can always switch or find new merchants too - you are tied to no one.

    They will pay to partner (affiliate) with you - the more popular the site, the more you can ask - Everyone wants the first page of Google... but the next best thing is getting with someone who is there.

    We are in it to WIN, otherwise do not waste your time.

    Good Luck my friends, I hope this helps you start your seo (or any) business online,

    - woodstuck
     
  13. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    You got the order backwards... business crashed (wasn't SEO, was enterprise software) Business rebounded after ten months...then sold. Wasn't SEO

    You aren't entirely right... There is more demand for SEO than there are reputable service providers. You don't have to be best and you shouldn't promise first page listings unless its on long tail words you know clients can rank for. At the end of the day SEO for online retail is about getting new visitors into your store. Has nothing to do with high placement in the serps. In fact most of the work need to SEO for retail is monotonous... monkeys can do it. Don't need the best... just need to get the work done.

    He is certainly welcome to go the forum hopping "seo guru" education route then start business... but for a lot of people the quickest way to learn is to do it. My advice, which was solicited, gives a quick realistic way to do that and get the bills paid. I don't really care if people "think" I'm wrong. There is no wrong way to learn provided you reach your goals. People prefer to learn in different ways.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  14. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    You don't take on customers. That's not what he's asking how to do. Your ability to grow year over year is probably limited by that decision. I'm not saying you aren't successful. Some people may want to grow a service business to 100 employees in 5 years. Takes a different set of skills and desires. Like I said earlier... If you want to be a one man show then different rules apply. I'm not disagreeing with you on most of what you've said. I even said so after your post. My advice is still valid, just different.
     
  15. woodstuck

    woodstuck Junior Member

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    I agreed, he could get a job learning more if he has some entry level and people skills... but he sounded like he wanted to do it directly, himself.

    SEO is a bit different from SEM - Because good seo DOES get my pages organically on Googles first page, I said nothing about guarantees, I was talking a portfolio start, actual proof that you can do what you say... because if you are going to do it yourself and not work for anyone else puts the entire sale on you and your resources.

    To finish, SEM handles all the other online and offline marketing necessary and will get you the results you stated - more buyers (without the first page organic results) - whether it is articles, linking, t.v., or PPC - they are all SEM.

    Does that refrigerator make you more money?

    - woodstuck
     
  16. scriptaty

    scriptaty Regular Member Premium Member

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    If you want to practice some SEO then I have a good idea for you. Actully, I m in need of money and you are in need of SEO education. So, I have an account for you to practice and learn about off-site optimization. Similarly, I have some ebooks that you will surely find a great way to learn about SEO.

    I am not an expert SEO myself but I think am a good on-site optimizer as my website statistics through google is daily increasing but it has never been decreased yet since around 2 months after it's establishment. Although my website's traffic is not too high but I started with just $10 budget and i am satisfied what I have done till now through SEO and never invested a penny except for domain name and hosting till now. I have not done any other method till now for my website for marketing. So, I think I can be said SEO technician with current experience.

    And as from threads I came to know that you also want to have experience with SEO. SO, I can provide you with them. You can learn and earn at the same time along with some experience and portfolio. I don't have myself great ideas but also I think I can help you little bit and you can do some for me too. I am not forcing for anything to you. But also you can take a look what I can offer.

    If you want to know what I have then you can send me PM. I could have sent you PM but I never want to send unsolicated message to anyone. So, if you are interested then you can PM me.